Handmade Cards

As you know, I love working with colour and making handmade cards. I have been working with the colours above. I have been trying to move outside my comfort zone, usually bright colours, to try and make some more subtle and traditional designs as well as using colours that I would not naturally reach for.


Changes At The Dinner Table

Sitting around the table with my in-laws this week, we struck up an interesting conversation. The topic of the conversation was for the benefit of my children, particularly the youngest son. It started like this:

" Poppy, when you were a kid, what did you do if your mum was cooking tea and it was still twenty minutes from being ready and you were staaaarving?"

"nothing.... you just had to wait" he replied.

"So, you didn't go and get a few biscuits out of the cupboard or eat an apple or grab a small packet of chips ?" We asked as youngest son's eyes began to get wider.

Pop told us all about the ways things were. You always ate everything on your plate because that was it! If the meal was cooking.... you waited. It was as simple as that. The meals were simple but adequate. They ate the same things all the time, there was no need for anything gourmet or new.

When I think about the 'old way' of eating there are a couple of things that always come to mind. Firstly, how the food was supposedly 'bad for you', - all that butter, bacon and dripping and yet only a very small proportion of the population was overweight. Secondly, the rhythm of eating - breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. It sure seems to be a lot of eating!

What strikes me about the way we eat today is that we are NEVER hungry. I see mothers with prams pull out all sorts of weird and wonderful things - it seems that kids can't go anywhere without having an emergency box of barbecue shapes in their backpacks or a six pack of juice poppers because the label says they are good for us.

Is it my imagination or are we just grazing all day long ? Is food too readily available for us ? Has food become a pacifier to young children and is it to comfort rather than to nourish ?

It always seems strange to me that people ate traditional ways for such a long period of time, yet since food companies have been telling us how to eat more 'healthy' we are the unhealthiest we have ever been! Sure, we may be living longer, but we pop a lot of pills and have lots of replacement surgery in order to carry on.

Ockham's Razor ( a radio programme on ABC) featured a programme called Fructose recently. It was an extract from the book Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. You can find it here.

I was particularly interested in the way he looked back at how food intake and health changed in a relatively short period of time.

It was not that long ago that there were no gym memberships, no diet magazines and no meal replacement programmes. I think you will enjoy the glance backwards.

As far as our family goes, I want to talk more to my kids about the ways things were. I want to be more rhythmic in our eating patterns and stop for meals and morning/afternoon tea and enjoy the ritual of those events as well as the food intake. I may even bring back dessert! - home made of course!!!


Finding The Joy.

It really has been a good month that I have been in hibernation. A combination of illness and events have resulted in a well needed break. Today I am running about 65% - which compared to where I have been is really quite okay.

Yesterday I noticed that I was starting to feel better. I think the sunshine had a lot to do with it. Never have I dreaded the winter so much.

I noticed that I was drawn to the colour combination in the jelly bean jar and just had to snap a picture of them in the sun - I will have to make something with these colours soon - they are so delightful. ( The jelly beans are because we have a diabetic in the family)

Then I heard the laughter of the children in the front yard. I love when they get bored and start thinking up these fabulous things to do. This game involved part of an old climbing gym, a skateboard and lots of protective gear. The big brother hooked the rope around himself and towed the little brother at pace down the driveway until the little brother skidded across the cement and onto the grass and they both fell into fits of laughter.

Honestly boys! Life would be much safer if you just sat down in front of the television all day.

Today we also went on a bit of a cruise around our fabulous waterways. Even though it was too cold to ski, the sun was shining and we cruised around the river system. At one point the water temperature was 18 degrees, so I am sure a few more weeks will see us back on the water again.

Bring on the summer, I say. Usually I love the change in seasons and the different jobs that come with the change in temperature, but this winter I have really struggled. We had so much rain, our garden flooded out at least twice and there were days when I didn't even feel like venturing outside.

But today, today is different and I feel a change on the horizon. Bring it on !!!


Slowly.... Methodically.....

Well. It's over. The end of an era. I have been imagining the day for at least the last 25 years.

We sat in the church and I did not look at the coffin. It was nothing to do with the Nanna that I knew and loved. It was somehow foreign. I sat and listened and laughed at the eulogy. It was quite funny. It was beautifully written. The only place I thought I was really going to lose it was when they read My Grandmother's Hands. A simple poem I had penned years before to go in one of my scrapbook albums. But, I held it together. I reminded myself that this is not her....... I have many wonderful memories that are her.... not this...... not this freezing cold church.

::It was strange::

Outside the church we all stood around. We had been told that there would be a private cremation. I was talking to a cousin when suddenly we noticed that processing out of the long driveway was the three clergy, two dressed in white and one dressed in black stepping slowly in front of the hearse as it crept along the long driveway out into the street.

Did anyone even notice that she was sneaking away silently ? We stood there and watched, but didn't say anything to each other. That is the way she wanted it. She would step away slowly, privately, unnoticed and without any fuss.

Driving the seven hours back home I was surprised that I wasn't sadder. Truth is we were all so sick, too sick really to even have ventured so far.

All the way home I thought that when I knew she had decided to go, I would never be able to write another word on A Vision Splendid, nothing more about my Grandmother's ways. But when she died I felt stronger than ever that I had a duty to capture all the good things about her and craft them into my own life to make me a better person and to empower the lives of others.

But..... all in good time.

At present I am sick...... we are all sick. We are slow and steady. Even though i am not 'sad' as such, I think it is part of the realisation and the mourning.

I go about my tasks very slowly...... methodically....... I haven't been anywhere, or spoken to anyone. I am practicing a little self preservation because, as my sister told me... the cogs of life have turned. I feel as thought we have all stepped up one place in the generations. My children have become who I was, I am now my mother and my mother steps fully into her role as Grandmother. The wheels of life turn.

So, for as long as required, I am going slow. I am surrounding my self in nurture - wherever I may find it. So far I have found comfort in lovely meals, hot baths and of course...... coloured paper. I have been making some beautiful cards.... there is something very healing about cutting out a perfectly stamped pink flower.

So...... for now......... I take things as slowly as required.


To Everything There Is A Season

My Nanna
15th July 1907 - 1st July 2009

To everything..............there is a season

A time for every purpose under the sun.

A time to be born and a time to die

A time to sow and a time to reap

A time to kill and a time to heal

A time to weep and a time to laugh

A time to mourn and a time to dance

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing

A Time to lose and a time to seek

A time to rend and a time to sew

A time to keep silent and a time to speak

A time to love and a time to hate

A time for war and a time for peace

Now.... it is my time to mourn..............I hope that soon it will be my time for peace.


A Woman's Work

These are some shots I took from a display at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. I have been there a couple of times before and was glad to see that this display was still there. I love this display because it reminds me so much of my other Nanna's house. Looking at it is almost a step back in time for me. It reminds me of a time when things were so simple. I look at these photos and think about the women who spent many hours in these types of kitchens.

Meal preparation and cleaning was a big part of their day. There were no microwave ovens or online pizza ordering.

Depending on which source you read, some women fought to escape from the prison of the home. They longed for a life that recognised them as individuals and beings that were capable of so much more than being "just" a mother and housekeeper.

I love that here I am in the 21st century at the age of 36 and already have had two professional careers ( lawyer and school teacher). I love that the above picture of me captures the present and the past. I love that I here I am with the world as my oyster knowing that I can do and be anything I want to be .... and yet, I write a blog justifying my choice to be "just" a mother and "just" a housekeeper.
...... I wonder what the 1940s woman would have thought of me................


Time For A New Budget

It is coming up to the end of the financial year and time to do up a new budget.

Budgets always need adjusting, they change as family needs or incomes change. As your budget evolves you may notice that you have more than enough income in one category, but are always running out of funds in another category. As seasons change you may have different expenses. In our household winter sports and less water skiing means that one category goes up while another comes down.

I never view a budget as a negative thing. I think it is one of the most powerful tools that a family can use in order to bring peace to a household. Involving your children in the family budget is also a great way to teach them how to save and use their money. My boys have learnt the value of money, for example, if they are putting $15 a week in a particular category then they know how long it takes to save $90. If we want to do something on a weekend they look in the ‘entertainment’ envelope and can make decisions about whether we can order a pizza or go bowling and eat out. There is very little nagging or squabbling because they understand the process.

As my regular readers know, I work with a cash budget because this system works really well for me. I have read about people who budget using a credit card and virtual envelopes and that works extremely well for them. The secret is finding a system that ‘honestly’ works for you. Because of the state of financial markets I am considering parking the ‘savings’ type categories into my no fee investment account to maximise the interest ( a whole 3.5%). If I do this, I will still break it up into ‘virtual’ envelopes so that I know what is what and so I don’t start spending savings amounts or spending bills money by buying clothing. Having said that, the majority of my categories will be cash based. Things like groceries, fuel, pocket money, kids sport, entertainment etc work best if they are in cash for us.

Is your budget constantly changing? Have you noticed that it changes as the seasons change ? Do you successfully budget with ‘virtual’ categories ? I’d love to hear from you.

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...